c1891 Old Fort Washington Elementary School is to be knocked down soon.
(from Remember Old Fort Washington Elementary School) ....MJE Builders was awarded title to the Old Fort Washington Elementary School in June 2012 and on November 26, 2012 was granted a permit for demolition. The permit was granted, given that the date stones will be saved and returned to the township.
The School, at 316 Madison Ave, was built in 1891 as a 2 room schoolhouse and expanded to 4 rooms in 1901. 8 more classrooms were added in 1917. A competition was held at that time for a motto for the school and the winner was "“Make that spark of learning grow” which was then engraved into the lintel above the door.
The public school was moved in 1970 to a new building on Fort Washington Ave. The old building was taken over by a private school but this school moved to a bigger building in 2005.
GATSME Model Railroad Club began leasing the basement of the building in 1975 and has been working with Upper Dublin Township since 2005 to find a buyer for the building. In 2012 they partnered with a developer to save the building but that deal later fell through so the property was awarded to MJE.
The Heights of Fort Washington was a rapidly expanding neighborhood in the second half of the nineteenth century. Once home to farmers, a mix of merchants and trades people began to move in. They were attracted by the nearby railroad with frequent passenger train service. The growing population of children spurred the construction of Upper Dublin Public School No 5 in 1891. The stone building contained two school rooms with the entrance on Madison Av. In 1902, an addition of 28’ x 40’ added two more classrooms to the south. The entrance was shifted to Prospect Av.
This photo circa 1905 shows the school from Prospect Avenue. When the school was expanded in 1902, a belfry (bell tower) was added. The line on the roof defines the 1902 addition on the left side of the photo.
In 1917, an eight room classroom structure was added to the West and the 1891 stone building was repurposed as the assembly room.
The entrance to GATSME is to the left of the door and down the steps into the basement which were added in 1975 to meet current safety codes.